Nearly six weeks ago I visited for the first time the paradise of Hawaii. While it’s easy for visitors to appreciate its sun-kissed beaches and warm ocean breezes, you may not realize Hawaii also is a renewable energy lover’s paradise. Sunshine and wind, especially, are in abundant supply.
The Aloha State is planning to utilize these renewable resources to achieve 70% clean energy by 2030. These are some of the most aggressive clean energy goals in the nation—and in my mind, another reason why Hawaii is such a special place.
Thirty percent of Hawaii’s Clean Energy Initiative goal comes from energy efficiency practices, such as:
Renewable energy makes up 40% of the state’s goals. While wind power has been identified as the most commercially available and economically viable alternative renewable energy source available in Hawaii, other clean energies also are available, including:
The view from my hotel room of rooftop solar panels and Maui’s 30-megawatt wind farm. Credit: Chris Stewart
I had a great view of Maui’s 30-megawatt wind farm from my hotel room.
Driving back from Kauai’s Napali Coast, I overheard my kayaking guide tell one of the adventurists in our group that his house is completely “off the grid.” The high price of oil and gas on the island, government-backed financial incentives, and his desire to have a minimal carbon footprint motivated him to install small solar photovoltaic and solar hot water systems.
While driving on both islands, I lost count of the number of rooftop solar panels. The Energy Savers website includes information about evaluating your home’s solar electricity and solar hot water potential. Of course, increasing your home’s efficiency usually is the easiest and fastest way to save money and energy at home.
For more information about renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies—including how they work, what they're used for, and how they can improve our lives, homes, businesses, and industries—visit the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Energy Basics website.
Chris Stewart is a senior communicator at DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which assists EERE in providing technical content for many of its websites.